Starting Strength Weekly Report

January 25, 2021

Palindrome Edition

On Starting Strength
  • 100 Duck-Sized Bres | Starting Strength Radio #92 – Mark Rippetoe answers questions from Starting Strength Radio fans in this Q&A episode featuring a strong return of Comments from the Haters.
  • Making a Living with Starting Strength - Careers in the New Fitness Industry – Starting Strength Coaches Inna Koppel and Brent Carter discuss Brent's career from starting as a personal trainer to Starting Strength Gym owner.
  • Research Review: Why Didn't "Strength Training" Work? – Dr. Jonathon Sullivan and new Research Review faculty Victoria Volkov discuss the DO-HEALTH study, which found no benefit for Omega-3 FAs, Vitamin D, or Strength Training in a large population of European seniors. How seriously should we take these results?
  • Starting Strength Gyms – The Plan for 2021 by Ray Gillenwater – The franchise gym business was a risky venture...Despite the obvious risks involved, the franchise company and our Founders’ Club franchise owners collectively invested millions of dollars and tens of thousands of hours to bring this concept to life – and it worked...
  • For the Coaches: The Starting Strength Method, The Model, and You by Nick Delgadillo and Mark Rippetoe – People periodically ask some version of, “What is the best refutation of Starting Strength?” While this is definitely a silly-ass question, it brings up the chance to discuss the “first principles” of the Starting Strength Method. They are...
  • Weekend Archives: Reflections In Iron – Mike Webster’s Training Methods by Colin Webster – I’ve been asked from time to time about the training methods of my father, Mike Webster of the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is recollection will, of course, be colored by the lens of youth...But I do remember a lot...
  • Weekend Archives: Getting Played: Whose Fault is It? by Mark Rippetoe – There are two groups of people who are responsible for most of the misunderstanding in modern strength and conditioning. They are the people you least expect to be blamed for this serious problem...

From the Coaches
Get Involved

In the Trenches

ray gillenwater coaching the squat
Starting Strength Coach Ray Gillenwater coaches John during the Squat and Deadlift Training Camp held in Boise last weekend. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
kelly deadlift set at boise training camp
Kelly pulls her last deadlift set at the Boise camp. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
ben deadlifting squat and deadlift camp
Ben deadlifts during the Boise Squat and Deadlift Training Camp. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
jd coaches back extension at a starting strength camp
JD coaches Kit to get into lumbar extension at the recent Starting Strength Deadlift & Clean Camp. [photo courtesy of Josh Wells]
josh shows a solid power clean rack position
Josh with a solid rack position in the power clean at the pulling camp in Houston. [photo courtesy of JD Shipley]
isak locking out a heavy press
Isak locks out a heavy press at WFAC. [photo courtesy of Bre Hillen]
faith between work sets
Faith resting and getting in some nutrition between work sets. [photo courtesy of Bre Hillen]

Best of the Week

John McCallum complete keys to progress

I have been reading McCallum's book and wanted to see your thoughts about it. The book reads nicely but does sound contradictory in some parts. For example, the author emphasizes strength training and avoiding lengthy workouts yet most of the routines he provides are high rep sets and amalgamates a multi faceted full body workout. For example combining hyperextensions, squats, front squats, bench, behind neck press, pullovers, power cleans, rowing and curls. The squats are 5 to 10 reps in his routines.

I'm just confused as to how such a routine was perceived as quick and short by the author who seems quite poised and knowledgeable. There is no emphasis at all at long rest between the sets and the emphasis is on breathing squats which I have not seen you ever discuss.

I'm interested, for practical and also academic purposes, to hear your thoughts and critique of this book, and explanations as to why the author promoted these lengthy routines while not deeming them as such.

Mark Rippetoe

Nobody really knew John McCallum. He mailed his pieces to York in the 60s, brown paper envelope, no telephone communication, no discussions, no other interaction. Suggs and Starr edited the articles and ran them as they showed up from somewhere in the Northwest, and they mailed the checks back to the return address. As far as I'm concerned, the primary value of the Keys stories is their basic message of lift big/eat big, not in the particular details. McCallum is a great writer, much better than I will ever be, and he was just a pleasure to read. I can only imagine how many copies of Strength And Health he sold for Hoffman back then, with guys all over the world waiting each month for the next installment.

Mark E. Hurling

The reason McCallum is so contradictory is because he was writing about bodybuilding as well as pure strength. He even threw in some Olympic lifting stuff, sorta.

I started reading his stuff in high school in the mid 60s, and yes indeed, I couldn't wait for the next installment.


You are a terrific (terrific) writer, speaker, and role model.

Thank you ever so much for this eloquent and enlightening intro.

If possible to talk about these early pubs (including Randal strossen' super "breathing" squats) on the next podcast? I’ll be very grateful.

Mark Rippetoe

I haven't got anything good to say about Dr. Strossen, so I'll probably leave him off the podcast.

Best of the Forum

Light Day Pull
Sebastian Ohanian

For a novice trainee that does not power clean, how do you determine which light day pulling variant to use? I know there are RDLs, rows, SLDL, light deadlift, chins, and a few more, but I'm not sure why a trainee would choose one over the other.

Mark Rippetoe

I recommend the power clean. Why do you not do them?

Sebastian Ohanian

I'm unable to rack the power clean because of disproportionately long forearms (confirmed by SSC). Power snatch is fun, but I understand that the weight will not be enough to drive up the deadlift.

Mark Rippetoe

If I were coaching you I'd have you do 80% deadlifts. How old are you?

Sebastian Ohanian

36, 6'2", 245lbs, and the last pull was 350 with hook grip. What is the reasoning for the light deadlift versus the other variants?

Mark Rippetoe

What is the reasoning for the other variants vs the light deadlift?

Sebastian Ohanian

No, why would a person that does not power clean do the light deadlifts (as you suggested) versus the other variants. Thanks again.

Mark Rippetoe

I'm asking you why you'd rather do variants as opposed to light deadlifts.

Sebastian Ohanian

I don't have an opposition to the light deadlift. SSC told me I could pick RDL, row, or light deadlift, which is different than your recommendation. I'm curious why the advice is different or if the advice could change down the road.

Mark Rippetoe

Opinions vary. My opinion is that for light pulling purposes, the power clean is the best option and light deadlifts are the second best option.

Starting Strength Weekly Report

Highlights from the StartingStrength Community. Browse archives.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.